www.slobodan-milosevic.org - August 18, 2005

Written by: Andy Wilcoxson

Defense witness Muharem Ibraj completed his testimony at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Thursday. Mr. Ibraj was the head of the Local Security force in the Djackovica municipality. He was cross-examined by the prosecution and subsequently re-examined by president Milosevic.

During the cross-examination the prosecution accused Mr. Ibraj, himself an ethnic Albanian, of being a participant in Slobodan Milosevic’s alleged conspiracy to cleanse Kosovo of its Albanian population.

During the cross-examination, Mr. Saxon tried to get the witness to say that Serbia was a repressive state where people were arrested for their political beliefs. Mr. Ibraj denied that and said that anybody could be involved in politics and that nobody was arrested for their beliefs. He said that the police only arrested criminals.

During his re-examination the witness reiterated his testimony that he was elected by the local population to hold his post in the Local Security. The people elected him to maintain law and order in the village of Osek Hila in the Djackovica municipality. He was appointed by the president of the municipality to be the head of the Local Security in the entire municipality.

The witness pointed out that all of the prosecutor’s accusations came from people who were not even in his village. He said that if he were the sort of vicious monster that they made him out to be, then people from his own village would have given statements against him.

After Mr. Ibraj concluded his testimony, Saban Fazliu took the witness stand. Mr. Fazliu is a Kosovo-Albanian who worked as a forest ranger in the Urosevac area of Kosovo. He was a loyal citizen of Yugoslavia who gets along well with the Albanian and non-Albanian population. Because of his tolerant attitude he suffers awful persecution at the hands of Albanian nationalists.

When Mr. Fazliu first went to The Hague five months ago to prepare to give evidence Albanian terrorists kidnapped his 16-year-old daughter, and he has not seen her since.

When Mr. Fazliu told the court that his young daughter had been kidnapped because of his testimony the reaction from the bench was shocking. Judge Robinson cut the witness off and directed Milosevic to move to another line of questioning. The so-called “presiding judge” didn’t even care about the sort of awful pressure that is being exerted on Kosovo-Albanians so that they will lie against Serbia.

In spite of the great danger to his own life and his family, Mr. Fazliu testified and told the truth. He said there are many more Albanians like him, but they are afraid of what will happen to them if they testify. He told the court, “I know that I am already dead after I testify.”

According to Mr. Fazliu’s testimony, Albanian nationalism began to gain strength in Kosovo during the 1970s. He said that his village was 50% Serb and 50% Albanian in 1975, but that Serbs began to leave in the 70s and 80s, and today there are no more Serbs left.

The witness said that Albanian nationalists, together with some Albanian clan leaders, promoted the idea of greater Albania through concerts and social gatherings.

Mr. Fazliu testified that in 1991 certain Albanian clan leaders ordered the Albanian population to break off all contact with Serbs. Mr. Fazliu explained that he ignored the order and worked with a Serbian family tending fields in his village. On his way home from work that night he was insulted by a group of Albanian nationalists. The next morning, a group of Albanian nationalists came to his house and tried to beat him up. Luckily, he had a pistol and was able to fend off his would-be attackers.

By 1998 Mr. Fazliu was working in the mountains around Urosevac as a forest ranger. He said that 1998 was when he began to see small KLA groups smuggling drugs and weapons in the mountains. He said that they were usually operating in groups of three or four people and that most of them did not have uniforms.

He said that the KLA had grown considerably by 1999 and that the size of their groups had grown much bigger. He saw them in the mountains with their weapons preparing for the war; they were digging trenches and building bunkers. He said that he saw between 100 and 150 KLA terrorists in the village of Racak before the war.

Mr. Fazliu explained that the KLA was a group of terrorists and criminals. He said that the KLA, together with NATO, was responsible for the war and the humanitarian disaster in Kosovo.

He said that the KLA prepared the entire exodus from Kosovo so that they could blame the Serbs for it. He said that refugee camps were being prepared in Macedonia and Albania as long as six months before the war.

Mr. Fazliu told the court that it was the NATO bombing, and not the Yugoslav Army or Serbian Police, which caused the people to flee Kosovo. He explained that the Army and the police wanted people to stay in their homes and even brought them food and humanitarian assistance. He told the tribunal point-blank, “the [Yugoslav] army has done nothing wrong in Kosovo.”

In addition to the terror instilled in the population by the NATO bombing, was the KLA’s order that Albanians should all leave Kosovo. Mr. Fazliu explained that the KLA told the people to leave, and killed anybody who did not obey their orders. He recounted one example where an elderly Albanian man refused to leave his home, so the KLA came to his house and killed him. Then they blamed the Serbs for the killing. The witness explained that the KLA issued orders to the population through certain Albanian clan leaders.

The indictment against Milosevic claims that the Yugoslav Army and Serbian police ethnically cleansed Urosevac, and deliberately destroyed civilian property in the process.

Mr. Fazliu told the court that the indictment is totally wrong. He said that the KLA and NATO attacked Urosevac, not the army or the police.

He said that NATO attacked civilian targets during the war, and the KLA rampaged through the Urosevac area after KFOR occupied the province. He said that the KLA burned the houses of Serbs and Albanians who refused to cooperate with them, and that his own house was among those torched by the KLA after the war.

Shortly after the war, the witness’s son was kidnapped by the KLA. Luckily they let him go after only a few hours.

A friend of the witness was among a group of 26 Kosovo-Albanians kidnapped by the KLA in the municipality of Kacanik. The KLA tortured his friend by stabbing him with a screwdriver. His friend was lucky enough to escape with his life. The other 25 people were not so lucky – the KLA killed them all.

The KLA kidnapped and killed these innocent Albanian civilians simply because they continued to work and live together with the Serbs. Last year an UNMIK court sentenced five of the KLA members involved in the incident to time in prison, the others escaped prosecution by going to Albania.

After Milosevic concluded his examination-in-chief, Mr. Saxon began to cross-examine the witness. Mr. Saxon’s line of cross-examination was weak and nonsensical. In Mr. Saxon’s opinion Mr. Fazilu had no business to reporting the KLA’s activities to the police after he himself had used a pistol in self-defense.

The witness explained to the prosecutor that the KLA were descended from the fascist Balli Kombetar movement of World War II, and that they were trafficking weapons and drugs. He pointed out the obvious difference between using a pistol in self-defense and trafficking drugs and weapons to support a fascist crusade of ethnic cleansing.

Mr. Saxon will undoubtedly continue to embarrass himself when the cross-examination and the trial continue on Friday.

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